Making Use of Unstructured Data with Form Recognizer

Every business has their “junk” drawer (or the “share” as Bill/Karen likes to call it). Often hidden in this data wasteland are nuggets of informational gold that could revolutionize the way you do business (we hope). Turns out that the most important information is usually hidden in paper forms (by paper I mean digital paper like an image or pdf file). Microsoft recently released a new service (just released - blog) called Form Recognizer designed to make short work of the structured data hidden in these gems. I shall endeavor to take you through the simple process here!
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3 Tips for Debugging Cloud Scale Machine Learning Workloads

Let’s say you built an amazingly wonderful hand-crafted artisanal convolutional neural network that works beautifully on your hard-drive based dataset. You are now ready to take this masterpiece to the cloud to work on a much larger dataset on beefier machines - you are not looking forward to it.

  • “How do I ship this patchwork conda (or venv) where I’ve installed everything the training/inference code needed AS WELL AS everything else I thought I needed along the way?”
  • “I don’t want to waste cloud compute money on things I’m not sure will work on the first try!!”
  • Basically, “I have already done the work and I’m not interested in the yak shaving portion of the job!”

No need to fear, dear reader, this article is designed to help you move your glorious work to the cloud (and beyond) by leveraging your local environment as if it were the cloud itself.

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Talking about Technology

.NET Foundation

Making software is hard. Every once in a while we find some code that really helps the process. It makes our own code intelligible: almost fun! Sometimes the magical code is of our own making but often we are using someone else’s code. In either case the next step should be to share the joy.

My preferred mechanism to share the joy is through videos. Videos are a powerful way of humanizing the types of problems software solves. With video, you can get in the thick of it code-wise while still adding a literal face. You can see the excitement, the technology, and most importantly: the code.

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A New Position

It is appallingly wrong of me to not have written anything in over a year. One of my resolutions is to ameliorate the situation by trying to write at least one thing every month (sorry January). In this post I would like to announce that I have decided to take a position with Microsoft working with the Channel 9 team. I am thrilled at the opportunity to work for such a wonderful company that has defined my career as a developer for the past 10+ years.
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A Brief Forage into Functional Thinking

I have long considered software engineering to be a craft that must be honed over years of careful study and precise implementation. What we learn in the labs of school and contrived examples are indeed important but only when carefully used in our day to day work. As such my challenge to you, dear reader, is to try to find at least one application where thinking functionally might assist you in your daily endeavors to produce excellent software.
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